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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Washington nonprofit empowers low-income residents, immigrants


SDOP-sponsored organization generates interest in at-risk communities

August 21, 2017

Low-income residents and immigrant communities in the Washington, D.C., area are getting help from a local nonprofit that’s supported in part by the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. ONE DC is working to improve social and economic equity by organizing, training and educating residents in the Shaw neighborhood and the District.

(Photo via ONE DC web site)

“We are community organizers, working with longtime, low-income residents,” said Dominic Moulden, resource organizer for ONE DC. “This organization has been around in one form or another for 20 years now, and we’ve been connected with SDOP the entire time.”

Moulden says the organization was built around three main goals: involving people in the decisions that affect their lives, minimizing hierarchy and professionalism, and engaging in direct action to resolve social problems.

“We have this political education community meeting called the People’s Platform,” Moulden said. “SDOP is helping us organize the platform and bring in community organizers to lead the meetings. They’ve grown from around 20 people to more than 100 attending each month.”

ONE DC’s vision, according to Moulden, is to “maintain a safe place where diverse cultures and individual stories are held sacred.” The organization promotes social entrepreneurship and a collective use of community resources.

“People know about their housing and political rights and they know about the zoning process. Because so many attend the meetings, they help other people get involved,” Moulden said. “The People’s Platforms are monthly, but we are in the housing units every day meeting with people.”

“ONE DC embodies the energy and spirit of the types of programs that lift up equity, hope and transformation. SDOP is proud to be a partner in this endeavor,” said the Rev. Alonzo Johnson, SDOP coordinator. “We have learned much from Dominic about the importance of communal voice and community empowerment. We are proud to partner with ONE DC as they continue to educate, inspire and engage people who are impacted directly by poverty and injustice.”

“We hope that these platforms will generate more than 500 members next year looking at these issues,” Moulden said. “We are also hoping to help tenants buy at least two of their buildings so they will not be displaced.”

According to Moulden, the state of income, housing security and wellness for DC residents is bad and getting worse. ONE DC says the city has destroyed welfare and social programs, attacked workers’ rights and supported the reduction in programs for the most vulnerable.

Moulden says he’s encouraged by the progress ONE DC has made in recent years and believes that will translate into a better way of life for the residents they serve.

“We just got an award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and that is inspiring,” Moulden said. “But we have to love the people. That’s what motivates me, and I’ve been doing this for 31 years.”

 Rick Jones, Mission Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People

Let us join in prayer for:

National Capital Presbytery Staff

Karen Chamis, director of congregational development and mission
Sara Coe, stated clerk
Debbie Golden, bookkeeper and program assistant
Wilson Gunn, general presbyter
Todd McCreight, director of business affairs
Michael McNamara, mission specialist
Jan Moody, assistant to the stated clerk/administrative assistant to leadership council
LaJuan Quander, director of communication and resourcing
Colette Ramm, administrator for committee on ministry

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Monica Maeyer, BOP                                                                    
Steve Maier, PMA                                                        

Let us pray:

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of shelter and home. Challenge us to find ways to extend this gift as we work together to create sustainable communities for all. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 135; 145
First Reading 2 Samuel 17:24-18:8
Second Reading Acts 22:30-23:11
Gospel Reading Mark 11:12-26
Evening Psalms 97; 112